Re: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown electoral areas
Dear Sir or Madam,
I would like to make a submission in relation to the electoral boundaries for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.
The terms of reference for the Commission state that “there should be one member for every 4,830 population in each council area”, subject to a maximum total of 40 members. As the population of the county according to the 2011 census is 206,261 this equates to 42.7 members. However I assume the Commission will apply the maximum number of 40 for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, and my submission is based on that number.
I welcome the significant overall national reduction in the number of councillors and the proposed rationalisation of local government structures. While I recognise that nationally Dun Laoghaire Rathdown is under-represented in terms of the number of councillors I believe the Council could continue to carry out its work efficiently with the existing number of 28 councillors. Indeed there is a case to be made that a larger number of councillors for this county could hinder the efficient running of the council as well as being an additional burden on rate payers.
The last Commission noted that the county is seen as being an eastern part and a western part and that this east/west axis is also reflected in the Council’s area committee structure. It also mirrors the 2 major towns in the county, with Dun Laoghaire in the east and Dundrum in the west.
This area committee structure works very well and I would recommend that the wards be configured in a way to facilitate the continuation of this structure.
This east/west axis is also reflected in the ward structure with 3 wards in the east – Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire and Ballybrack and 3 wards in the west – Stillorgan, Dundrum and Glencullen/Sandyford.
I believe the Commission also needs to be conscious of the problems associated with large wards in an urban area. Wards of a large size (9 to 10 seats) would have a councillor supporting anywhere between 46,000 and 51,500. I believe it would be difficult for a councillor to cover a population of that size, considering the lack of any administrative back up. I would argue therefore for a ward size in the range of 6 to 8 seats.
Assuming 40 Council members, I believe the optimum arrangement would be one based around the existing 6 wards, and ward sizes of 6 to 8 seats. I believe the logical arrangement is for 3 wards in the west of the county of 6 seats each totalling 18 seats, and 3 wards in the east totalling 22 seats.
Eastern wards – Dun Laoghaire constituency
My submission is concerned with only the three eastern wards. My submission would recommend:
a) No changes should be made to the electoral boundaries of the Blackrock ward. The new Blackrock ward would have a population equivalent for 6 seats.
b) Make no changes to the Dun Laoghaire ward. Population is now equivalent to 8 seats.
c) The transfer of the Foxrock-Carrickmines electoral area from the old Stillorgan ward and the transfer of the Cabinteely-Loughlinstown electoral area from the old Glencullen-Sandyford ward, with both electoral areas to be transferred to the existing Ballybrack ward. Both these electoral areas were previously part of the Ballybrack ward. Ballybrack would have a population equivalent to 8 seats.
This structure would meet the terms of reference of the Commission in terms of:
- Local electoral areas designed around the large towns and urban centres of Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire and Ballybrack.
- Taking account of “existing local authority electoral and administrative areas”, with a minimum of alterations to existing wards.
- “The number of councillors should typically be 7 and not more than 10 or less than 6”
- The variance of each electoral area is within the range of +/- 10%
Cllr. Marie Baker
38 Avondale Lawn
phone 288 7713
Mobile 086 8186704